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High Street

Indoor hospitality reopening fails to boost May footfall

Footfall declined from 2019 by -36.3% in high streets, -30.3% in shopping centres and -5.7% in retail parks

The reopening of indoor hospitality has failed to give a significant boost to high street footfall, according to Springboard’s May figures.

Springboard revealed that while footfall strengthened when non-essential retail opened in April, further gains following the reopening of indoor hospitality in May were muted. Footfall was -27.5% lower than the 2019, pre-pandemic level, compared with -32.7% in April.

Following the reopening it actually found that the gap in footfall from 2019 to 2021 widened over the month; from -25.3% in the first week of May to -26.8% by the last week.

Footfall declined from 2019 by -36.3% in high streets, -30.3% in shopping
centres and -5.7% in retail parks.

Springboard said there are several reasons for the performance, including May being the wettest on record which “inevitably lowered the initial exhilaration of consumers in being able to eat out as even visiting indoor environments necessitated braving the weather”.

It also said the limitations on dining capacity in indoor venues means that the uplift in footfall generated has been limited and that most of the increase in footfall has occurred post 5pm when volumes of activity are “far lower” than during retail trading hours.

However, what Springboard said has been a “positive outcome” is the early sign that consumers are drifting back into larger destinations for work or leisure, with footfall in Central London increasing from April by +17.2% and in regional cities elsewhere in the UK by +20.4% compared with a rise across all UK high streets from April of just +7.1%.

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